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Hacker Center / Game Sporz Wireless Ping Pong debugging
« on: July 07, 2020, 02:06:22 PM »
Recently, a long-awaited plug & play ROM was dumped - the Game Sporz Wireless Ping Pong system. This is one of few consoles to feature the Cube Technology VT03 hacks, including the Pac-Man hack "Eat Bean". While it will eventually be added to MAME, it doesn't seem to work in Nintendulator - I tried dozens of iNES header settings to no avail.

Looking in the CHR, I noticed something odd - following the Ping Pong game, there's a row of four unused games. One is a VT03 Nice Code thing - seen it before, forgot the name, too lazy to figure it out. The other three are hacks of Exerion, Lode Runner, and Star Gate. The weird thing is, they're actually VT02 (standard NES) graphics, converted to the VT03 format without any enhancements (they might have VT03 title screens? I can't tell). The former two seem to be identical to Inventor's Overlord and Deflower hacks, respectively; the Star Gate hack is similar to Power Joy's Atomic Blast hack, but some of the sprites are a bit different. Unfortunately, that's as far as I can test until I can figure out how to emulate the damn thing, but I figured I should document it here regardless.

Download attached of a VT02 conversion of the Star Gate hack.

Other Pirates / Cooking Mama: Cookstar
« on: April 06, 2020, 05:33:04 PM »
Cooking Mama: Cookstar is a game that released a few weeks back by Planet Entertainment on the Nintendo Switch...but if you look for it on the eShop, you won't find it. It was there on March...somethingith (I can't find the proper date now), but vanished a few hours later. Its disappeared from any online stores too, save for Ebay. If you want to risk getting Coronavirus in exchange for a copy, you might be able to find a cartridge in the wild, but your chances are unlikely.

So, what happened here? Theories were circulating that the game was overheating Switches and ruining Switch batteries. But the biggest rumor was that the game was a front for stealing credit card information to turn into Bitcoin - something that wasn't actually that unlikely. The first press release for the game was boasted as using "blockchain technology", something that is mainly used for cryptocurrency. Even Nintendo themselves had no idea why the game was taken down - they just did as Planet told them to.

But in the end, Cookstar's takedown ended up being because, well, the game is a bootleg. The developers *were* working with Office Create/Cooking Mama Ltd. initially; but due to the game's, quite frankly, TERRIBLE quality, the license holders backed out, asking Planet for it to either be heavily polished or canceled entirely. Instead of listening to them, Planet just released it anyway...with a lawsuit being filed mere hours later. So Planet entered panic mode, and removed every mention of the game they could.

I think its also quite clear that Planet knew EXACTLY what they were doing. The game's trailer was unlisted on Youtube, and the game just shadow-released; no pre-orders or anything. This was an intentional bootleg, and I really doubt there was miscommunication here. Its fascinating to see something like this happen, and it really makes you wonder how many similar, completely-buried cases like this there have been over the years...

(and by the way, Cookstar also features a bootleg favorite: an animation of Mama...doing the Gangnam Style dance. yes, really.

Hacker Center / Retro Arcade Machine X debugging
« on: February 24, 2020, 07:53:17 PM »
I was going to post this on The Cutting Room Floor, but they're closed for renovations right now, so I'm putting it here before I inevitably lose it...

The dreamGEAR Retro Arcade Machine X was just dumped in MAME. Its a VT368 system, so it likely won't be emulated for a while. Its one of the ones with these fancy ROM hacks (albeit at regular NES resolution):

For whatever reason, the entirety of the My Arcade Retro Machine (the predecessor to this console) is in the data, from address 02000000 to 02800000. However, two bytes were altered, making it only load F-22 instead. With the data extracted, at addresses 08000C-08000D, replacing 81 and E7 with C9 and EB will allow the menu to run. Roughly 150 games present here are unused and inaccessible in the main 300-in-1 menu.

Additionally, I can find data for several of the VT368 games which didn't appear on this system, including the Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man hacks. Its amusing seeing countless bootleg strings of "NAMCO" from the only company who currently sells their classic games officially...and also extremely sad...

Download attached of the extracted 200-in-1 (w/ the two bytes replaced), in case anyone wants to analyze it, as well as pictures of Pac-text strings.

1984-1992 / Dendy-branded test cartridges
« on: November 17, 2019, 10:49:00 PM »
I just watched a video that appeared on my YouTube homepage called "Russian Bootleg Nintendo Games" ( I noticed two things about it; firstly, the guy playing used the Retron 5, making everything a glitchy mess...even though he has a Dendy and Micro Genius in the video. Great job. But more importantly, two of the cartridges shown were branded as "Dendy Junior" on the front, and are clearly test cartridges of some kind. One of them (seen at 7:08) has a handwritten label, and loads a screen with the Dendy elephant and says something along the lines of "Please connect your Dendy network adapter". The other cartridge (seen at 16:30) has no label, and loads a blank screen with Duck Hunt sounds (and flashing Duck Hunt's background covers whenever they appear). Has anyone ever seen these before, or know where they were used?

Famicom/NES / Door Door discovery
« on: October 12, 2019, 02:25:09 AM »
While doing some hacking stuff recently out of boredom, I noticed something strange about the game Door Door. As common as it is on bootleg multicarts, every knockoff version of it is...weirdly altered. Most notably, the doors can be opened multiple times after letting an enemy inside; in the original game, they can only be opened once. Additionally, the life counter doesn't appear, and the score resets to zero upon entering a new level. Check any multicart with the game; they ALL do this!

So I decided to put an unaltered Door Door ROM into a multicart menu. At some point in the gameplay, the graphics will completely glitch out, usually after closing a door or touching the candy. For whatever reason, bootleg carts can't handle running the game normally... (I actually have a plug & play that has this glitch in it [Super Joy III variant], so I know its not an emulation error. It always pissed me off as a kid)

My question is: is Door Door just something the crappy multigames cannot handle properly? Or is this a very early form of copy protection, from the developers seeing the possibility of pirates appearing in the future? Is it able to detect if the ROM is above a certain filesize or something, and intentionally breaks the game from there?

Picture attached of glitch results when importing the original version over the bootleg in a multicart.

Famicom/NES / Nice Code Mario Kart returns...
« on: July 25, 2019, 10:22:57 PM »
I'm not sure if this warrants an entirely new topic (i couldn't find a good one to put it in), but a new system with the Nice Code famicom ports of mario kart, crash bandicoot and metal slug was released:

This will be *WAY* easier to track down than the Family Karaoto, which was the only known console featuring them up until this point. Its one of those weird cases where the game list is identical to the other console at the start, but some extra games were added at the end. If any rom dumpers can get ahold of this, its definitely worth dumping. (i would buy one myself but i can't stand using Aliexpress, nor can i dump things...)

The Big Old Arcade / Where to document the undocumented...?
« on: June 30, 2019, 07:21:19 PM »
This will probably turn out as a rather annoying post, but I know there are many preservationists and such here so they might be able to answer this question. Over the years, I've found many strange forms of documentation on video games that aren't listed on any major websites. For example, I just randomly found this webpage:

Many of the games here were unreleased, such as Felix the Cat for PlayStation and Namco Collection for Pocket PC 2002+ (the hell is a Pocket PC?). There are no pictures or videos of these games, let alone other text mentions of them, and we can only imagine what they were. And this is literally on some developer's resume, so I'm not even sure if its something I should be sharing around.

My question is, what can I do to get the word out about these things, without creating an obnoxious post like this on an unrelated forum? I know there's the Undumped Wiki, but they disabled the ability to create an account for some reason. I'm not exactly good at talking to people (especially in this scene with my track record), and most just ignore me. The best I can do is make light of one thing that leads to another; for example, I posted the Korean PC version of Pac-Man World on a wiki page, which led to some spiked interest in Korean PC games. I can't figure out any better way...

Famicom/NES / Tengen Ms. Pac-Man Fixed ROM
« on: February 01, 2018, 02:38:13 PM »
This is a fixed ROM for Tengen's version of Ms. Pac-Man for NES. In most emulators, this game features broken graphics, with the scoreboard and some other garbage being duplicated onto the maze. This even happens on some actual consoles, like the Retron 5. This was SUPER easy to fix - all I had to do was copy the game's data into another ROM - so I have no idea why so many versions of the game are completely broken. Download is attached below.


Famicom/NES / "Licensed" Famiclones
« on: January 17, 2018, 03:57:03 PM »
Not sure if anyone's already pointed it out, but there's a strangely high amount of "licensed" Famiclones currently on the market, mostly a bunch of handheld games shaped like arcade machines. Often times they only include one game per system, that being the NES port of an 80s arcade game. Here are some companies off the top of my head:

DreamGEAR - Yes, * that * DreamGEAR (who are going by My Arcade now for some reason). The ones who have been shelving out Famiclones to actual retail stores for the past decade. They have the license to BurgerTime and a couple other games, and now seemingly ALL of Namco's stuff judging by this press video. All NES, as expected, with the Nintendo copyrights chopped off the title screen. Actually pretty excited for the Namco stuff, but I don't understand why the hell they're using the Pac-Man design from Pac-Man Cereal...

Basic Fun - They've released a whole bunch of arcade-shaped handhelds, some LCD-based and others NES-based. Somehow they've accumulated the licenses from Namco, Taito, Konami, Gottelib, Atari, AND Williams. How they managed to do that I have no idea.

MSI Entertainment - The only non-handhelds to my knowledge; they release AWFUL plug 'n plays, with one NES game each, designed to intentionally look like Jakks Pacific units that originally had at least ten games on them. Their business reviews sure say a lot about them as a company.

There are probably a few others, and certainly there are more to come, but these were the ones off the top of my head. You'd think by this point they could create arcade-accurate stuff for...actually, never mind. I think I'll stick to $30 NES clones over $160 arcade clones.

Famicom/NES / Miss Peach World dumped?
« on: August 31, 2017, 07:13:59 PM »
I just found a forum thread which appears to have a download for the Mario hack Miss Peach World. The only problem is, its on a Chinese website that you have to make an account for, and I have no idea what I'm supposed to do in order to make one.

I've seen the website (nesbbs) linked on here a couple times, so I don't think its a virus or anything. Does anyone have an account for this and would be able to download the ROM?

Thread link:

(Oh, and a warning for the young ones - this game has porn in it, for some reason. Don't ask me why.)

Famicom/NES / (OLD) Project PLUG 'N PLAY (Bleb, Kuck, Goof)
« on: August 10, 2017, 10:36:48 PM »
NOTE: Current binaries are now handled by NewRisingSun. Future revisions are now posted here (as of July 2020). The below dialogue and download links are from the previous February 2018 version.

(LAST UPDATE: 02/11/2018)

Project PLUG 'N PLAY is a collection of many bootleg plug 'n play games extracted from their multicarts - the majority of which I have done myself. Overtime this project will grow as more titles are discovered (it started as just one game, now its over 500!).

Inside the RAR file you will find six folders of games, the contents of which are detailed below (bonus points if you can figure out where their names come from):

Project BLEB: This is for games created by the company Nice Code Software. In addition to about 120 unique games, you will find many variations of said games (used as "repeat" titles on multigames) with different graphics, sounds, etc.

Project HUMM: This folder is for the Hummer Team titles. There's practically nothing in here but the games are actually pretty decent (more of "full-fledged" games compared to other stuff).

Project KUMM: Games from JungleTac. Currently NES-based stuff only - some of their consoles run on other hardware, which aren't fully emulatable yet (maybe one day...) The emulation on these titles is still a little incomplete, so a few games run with glitches, but for the most part they work fine.

Project KUCK: This is for hacked games from Inventor. Included are various hacks which attempt to hide old Nintendo games by changing around the features of them. Each hacked game comes with the original as well, so you can compare and contrast the differences between them.

Project BATH: Original plug 'n play games from Waixing. The majority of Waixing's games are actually reskinned Nice Code games; as such those are stored in BLEB; but their originally coded titles are in here.

Project GOOF: Everything else goes here. Either the companies that made these games aren't known or they aren't notable enough to receive a full game folder. Lots of bizarre stuff in here, mixed in with 15 million Dance Dance Revolution rip-offs.

To play these, you need a NES emulator; however, games marked "VT03" or "VT09" will require a specific emulator to run properly. If games are unmarked, they'll work in pretty much any emulator you put them in. Oh, and you'll need to install a free trial of the program WinRAR to open the ROMS up.


<small>(Older archives are available under request, if you want them for some reason. If you're interested in these games, you may as well support the only plug 'n play company still around, My Arcade, and pick up one of their cheapo consoles so you feel less guilty for your crimes. Please don't scream at me to rip some random game you found because I probably can't. Enjoy your mediocre game collection I spent far too much time compiling.)</small>

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